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​The shame of fearing fear itself

by Charlie Barber | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Last Word | April 12th, 2017

“The American people [must] tear out by the roots the hatred that [has] eaten into their attitudes toward their fellow men, lest ‘we…awaken in the not far distant future to the terrible fact we too have become conquered by the spirit of hatred, cruelty, and racial intolerance which made Hitler what he was.’”

- Senator William Langer (R-ND), March 29,1946

“…this in no degree reduces the number and awfulness of Nazi evils; it reduces the number and awfulness of Nazi evil doers…With the civil service and the military safely ‘faithful,’ it took so few at the administrative level and so few more, a million at most, of a population of seventy million, to carry out the whole program of Nazi persecutions…”

– Milton Mayer, They Thought They Were Free, The Germans, 1933-45

“In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible.”

– George Orwell

“It is a false calculation, that the people of this country can ever be ultimately deceived.”

– Alexander Hamilton

“I desire above all things, to see the equality of political rights, exclusive of hereditary distinction, firmly established by a positive demonstration of its being consistent with the order and happiness of society.” - -Alexander Hamilton

As Senate Republicans begin, like Senator John McCain (R-AZ), to publiclyrebuke the Presidential monster their Party has enabled to capture the Executive Branch, they might wish to consult one of the many copies of George Orwell’s, 1984, which seem to be jumping off the shelves these days.

One of the passages in this chilling summary of Orwell’s observations of 20th Century horrors concerns the “Two Minute Hate,” organized by the minions of “Big Brother,” a masterpiece of appeal to the worst in us, taken from the record of Lenin’s and Stalin’s Communist manipulations and the manipulations of Nazism’s Hitler and Goebbels.

Nowadays, the cyber world of 21st Century Twitter allows Orwell’s Two Minute Hate to be passed on in far less time and space. A perfect example would be the recent tweet from “Tweeter-in-Chief,” President Donald Trump, to the effect that the tears shed by Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), while lamenting the fate of immigrant families under the Trump Administration’s assault on their human dignity and American aspirations, were “fake.”

No brave man or woman is afraid to shed tears when they are appropriate to fears that are genuine.

But it is fake fears, conjured up by President Trump over the past campaign, Tea Party zealots, and Republican leadership of the past eight years, that make any decent man or woman, like Senator Schumer, shed tears for our American experiment in democracy.

For the past six years, except in the election year of 2014, Republican/Tea Party leadership in Congress has refused to provide relief for the middle class “shock absorbers of globalization,” in this country -- blue collar, hard working men and women left behind by the shift of their jobs to high tech robots, and low tech cheaper labor abroad, by the companies they had worked all their adult lives for.

A massive infrastructure bill could have seriously mitigated the transition from low tech to high tech, but Republican leadership in Congress was loath to see credit for these blue collar jobs go to the Democrats, in general, and a black President, in particular. Instead, cynics like Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI), continued to allow Donald Trump’s “birther” lies about the citizenship of President Obama to go unchallenged, and to blame Democrats for the loss of jobs in the key electoral States of Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

Organized lying really works, if you also have the willful cooperation of the head of the FBI, and the “Big Brother” regime of Russia’s Vladimir Putin on your side.

The Republican strategy was thus successful in maintaining Legislative power on November 8, 2016. But Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan also delivered the Executive Branch into the hands of man who is yet to show that he has either the courage or the intelligence, much less the grace, to bear the burdens of leadership in a free country, as did his predecessor, President Barack Obama.

The good news is that our Founding Fathers anticipated the rise to power of charlatans like President Trump, and the worship of large, exploiting, multi-national corporations, like the British Empire, from which the American people had just freed themselves by force of arms. The checks and balances which men like James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin wrote into the U.S. Constitution, still remain for a free people to use in their defense of themselves and those they love.

Freedom is a power, but only if it is used, and used wisely. For freedom is also a burden to those willing to bear it. Eligible voters willing to vote, and to fight for that right to vote when it is being denied by unscrupulous Republican Governors and Legislators on the grounds of fake fears about “voter fraud.” Democratic and Republican legislators alike, unafraid to represent their constituents, rather than the fattest corporate contributors to their election campaigns.

Freedom weighs heavily on those who are serious about it, whether in private or in public life. But “fake fear” can all too often produce “fake freedom.” As Americans take to the streets and political action to defend freedoms they had formerly taken for granted, they are beginning to relearn the lessons of generations of Americans before them.

There are always going to be malefactors of great wealth and power out there willing to take away your freedom. But only if you are too lazy, too fearful, or too gullible to fight for it yourself.  

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